On the third day of the US-China trade talks in Beijing the White House called the chief US negotiator on a hot line. The orders were clear: Negotiate the purchase of 3000 km of the Great Wall and stop wasting time discussing tariffs, cyberattacks and Schezwan Noodles recipes.
According to a fly-on-the-wall in the Oval Room, Trump was close to declaring a national emergency over the ‘border crisis’ when his Security Advisor ranted that China was stone-walling in a language debate on the pronunciation of Huawei. Trump’s selective hearing picked up the words ‘China’ and ‘walling’, and a great idea was born to solve all his Presidency problems. After calling his negotiator in Beijing, Trump tweeted the news.
Later, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders gushed that Trump’s idea to buy a 3000 km section of the Great Wall of China was a triumph on many fronts.
First, it was a diplomatic coup that signalled China-US trade relations were healthy. Secondly, unpaid federal workers and illegals would not be commandeered to build an American wall. Thirdly, this would take the heat off Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation as the focus would shift to a Trump-China collusion.
When asked to prove if the China wall would be effective to keep Mexicans out, the press secretary remarked: Well, it’s worked in China as there are no Mexicans there. Which means it will work here.
The news was greeted by a surge of optimism in financial markets and broad smiles in the corridors of power in many countries. New trade deals were signed by many countries who were initially hostile to China’s global influence.
British Prime Minister Theresa May proposed buying a section of the Wall and having it installed on pontoon bridges in the middle of the English Channel.
“To keep the EU out and the UK in. Or the EU in, confined to Europe and the UK out, of Europe that is. It works either way and both ways”, she smirked in a heated Parliamentary debate.
Not to be outdone. Mrs Merkel floated the concept of a ‘nostalgic’ wall to commemorate the partition of Berlin. “It will also be a defence against Mr Putin’s grand designs of learning the German language which is best done on German soil.”
French President Macron defended his decision to upgrade the crumbling Maginot Line with vast sections of the China Wall. The many forts along the Line would be upgraded and would also include watch towers. Macron arm-twisted Breguet and Cartier to sponsor the 38 watch towers in multi-billion Euro deals. Left-over Great Wall stones will be used to confine ‘yellow vest’ protesters, effectively resulting in them climbing the wall.
Back to Square 1 ran a banner headline in the NYT.
Quoting a Reuters report, the NYT observed that China had inked agreements of up to US$1800 billion for 18,000 kilometres of Wall, but that discontent was growing amongst the many signatories. The bone of contention was that delivery of Wall sections was not included in the trade deals and was never discussed or estimated. China claimed that pick-up and delivery was the responsibility of the buyer, not the seller. As it is, it was doing more than enough by having 2 million people on standby to dismantle the sections.
This unexpected stand-off led to an escalation in trade war rhetoric between China and the West. Stock markets crashed, the US Government went into a shutdown, Teresa May resigned, and Macron went into hiding wearing a yellow vest.
Western Governments however cited a different reason for the collapse of trade negotiations with China. In a major press briefing on behalf of all western powers, Sarah Sanders claimed that a large section of the Great Wall was constructed by the Meng Dynasty, the great, great, great grand forefathers of Ming. Because the names Ming and Meng sounded alike all trade deals were off, thundered Ms Sanders. Ming of course is wanted in the US for alleged bank fraud related to evasion of US sanctions against Iran.